Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God Defend our Freeland

I’ve been thinking about the planned cuts to night classes.

As a consumer of Community Education, I learned how to use a computer and relevant software when my need was great because it was imperative as a writer, artist and communicator to get with the digital age or financially die. Being a freelancer meant there were no handy work place all- expenses-paid- whilst- you- get- paid kind of courses. Night classes made this essential world available to me.

I learned to type with more than two fingers at a night class. This was pretty useful in writing up my thesis and three novels. My education as a girl was focussed on Latin and French rather that the keyboard (Girls' School streaming into everyday uselessness) and a Pittman course was priced out of my self employed $50 professional development budget.

At Te Reo classes, learned my mihimihi and how to pronounce to names of books I illustrate, greet teachers and children in schools properly on my author vists and to say Morena on the Good Morning Show without fear of mangling vowels with my Pakeha tongue.

I taught life drawing one night a week and watched students gain confidence and joy in their ability to observe and document the human form when some thought they might never find a new skill and talent in their lives.

So I have sent Stop Night Class Cuts postcards to my MP Annette King (Labour) and the Minister of Education. Annette sent me back a personal letter sympathising and suggestions on how to make my protest more visible by way of a petition- I’ve signed lots of them for others too. I haven’t heard back from Anne as yet- I expect her pigeon hole is swamped…

I wrote the following poem years ago when there was no threat to continuing education at a price the average punter could afford. When education was not the preserve of the rich or safely salaried. When getting out of the house and learning something new was encouraged. I could laugh and joke, tongue in cheek, because I never imagined for a moment that it might be taken away. Auē.

Night Class

I thought I'd do an evening class,

So went and checked them out,

At our local high school,

Which left me in no doubt;

That 'Accounting for Beginners',

Was too sensible for me,

As the purpose of my life,

Is to have one and one make three.

'Culinary Cordon Bleu',

Had appetite appeal,

But I don't get time to grocery shop,

When would I cook a meal?

'Belly Dancing' looked like fun,

With tinkly bra and veil,

The thought of baring stretch marks though,

Left me feeling pale.

'Italian Made Easy',

Made me smirk a lot,

I could tell a nice young waiter,

That I like my pasta hot…

But all of these required,

Me to rush about at six

And organise a sitter,

Whilst I fed my hungry chicks.

I think I'll just create a course

That's tailor made for me,

Called 'Relaxation Methods'

-where I blob out after tea!

1 comment:

Melinda Szymanik said...

I think there would be a lot of people who would like your version of accounting :)

I too am brassed off at the recent round of funding cuts.For some reason they seem to think these things are expendable. At least they have changed their minds about cutting the $2 million for mainstreamed disabled children.